Quartz reports on a story emerging via Hong Kong and Chinese-language newspaper Oriental Daily, that upwards of 1,000 China-based Xi’an Institute of Technology students may have been forced to work on an assembly line at a Foxconn plant unpaid, cobbling together Sony’s next-gen PlayStation 4.
According to Quartz (via Chinese site Tencent Games), the students were informed that participation was mandatory toward receiving six course credits — credits without which they couldn’t graduate. The students were purportedly participating in an “internship.” The PlayStation 4 arrives in the U.S. on November 15.
Wild as that sounds, when Quartz spoke to Foxconn — one of the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturers and the perennial target of labor violation allegations — the company admitted the students had indeed been asked to perform duties that violated company policy.
Here’s the full Foxconn statement:
Immediate actions have been taken to bring [the northeast China Yantai] campus into full compliance with our code and policies by reinforcing the policies of no overtime and no night shifts for student interns, even though such work is voluntary, and reminding all interns of their rights to terminate their participation in the program at any time.
Foxconn added that it offers similar programs at some of its other China facilities, and that the programs offer students ”the opportunity to gain practical work experience and on-the-job training that will support their efforts to find employment following their graduation.”
Sony, for its part, pushed out the following statement (via CVG), indicating it believes Foxconn is in compliance with its own “Supplier Code of Conduct.”
The Sony Group established the Sony Supplier Code of Conduct in June 2005 with the expectation of every supplier agreeing and adhering to the policies of the Sony Group in complying with all applicable laws, work ethics, labour conditions, and respect for human rights, environmental conservation and health & safety. We understand Foxconn fully comprehend and comply with this Sony Supplier Code of Conduct.